French DVD & Blu-ray Recommendations

Discuss internationally-released DVDs and Blu-rays or other international DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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tenia
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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 11:13 am

Re: French R2 Recommendations

#26 Post by tenia » Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:21 pm

Mr Finch wrote:Just be aware folks that some of these discs still have forced French subtitles. They're not overly intrusive but may be annoying to some nevertheless. I have the French disc of Raw Deal but the R1 Roan triple-bill with T Men and He Walked By Night has the reportedly better image though the audio is said to be rather poor. Once I get the Roan disc I can post some comments here if anyone is interested.
Since it's some repackaging of the old Introuvables discs, it's possible (if it's the same as their latest releases) that you can now select either : the original version without any subs, the original version with subs, or the eventual french dubbing without subs.
Moreover, on my Peekton player, it's possible to select the subs during the playing with the remote.
Still, I wouldn't be definitive on all this.

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Finch
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#27 Post by Finch » Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:45 pm

Got the Roan triple-bill today and the image of all three films is sharper and has superior contrast to the French discs and perhaps even the MGM of He Walked By Night although the Roan, while still very watchable, still doesn't look as good as a more recent release of a film from that era (say, Universal's Gun For Hire). Yet, anyone still looking for the best release currently available of T-Men and Raw Deal should get the Roan. The sound is bordering on poor but you can at least make out the dialogue at a louder volume. Raw Deal has better audio on the Wild Side but weaker contrast and detail plus forced French subs go against the Wild Side disc. The Roan looks pretty decent actually for a disc from 1999 (and is superior even to the Sony Music disc from a few years back!).

One Mann I can unreservedly recommend though from the French label is (despite forced subs) Men in War (under the French title Code 486). Very good contrast, strong detail and good audio, and as yet unreleased in Region 1 as far as I know, or at least in acceptable condition.

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david hare
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#28 Post by david hare » Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:54 pm

I was curious about the Roans, as I had the old Mann double Laser disc from the 90s with the Carey Roan prints of T-Men and Raw Deal. Both movies suffered massive pixellation and general digital artefacting in the transfer, as though the datacine they made (or whatever it was!) for the source to Laserdisc was digitally compressed and really botched up. Consequently it's impossible to make sensible remarks about things like tonality, contrast, etc. I still have these burnt over to dvdr. Very disappointing.

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Finch
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#29 Post by Finch » Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:40 pm

Two more recommendations: Film Sans Frontieres' DVD of King Hu's RAINING IN THE MOUNTAINS (solid A/V which is superior to the German disc: sharper and no noise and chroma; great artwork too whereas the German disc has the wrong film description on the back and has a misleading title A Touch Of Zen 2) and Warner France's I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (lovely transfer, superior to the Criterion and only to be bettered by the eventual 1080p release which may well take at least another year) in a wonderful package (booklet is in French but I think the extras are all english-friendly). The P&P is admittedly pricey but it's without a doubt the definitive SD release of this particular film. The Hu is still available at FNAC and probably at ebay too.

The French released Ulmer's The Black Cata few weeks ago, licensed from Universal. The print is the same as the one found in the Uni set and Second Sight's UK DVD but with forced French subtitles. It comes with a 20+ minute documentary on Karloff and Lugosi in French and alas no subs. I still bought it for the beautiful artwork.

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tenia
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#30 Post by tenia » Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:48 am

Mr Finch wrote:Warner France's I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING (lovely transfer, superior to the Criterion and only to be bettered by the eventual 1080p release which may well take at least another year) in a wonderful package (booklet is in French but I think the extras are all english-friendly).
I have the Warner Colonel Blimp and Canterbury Tales : I confirm : everything is English-friendly (except the booklet). There's even an English menu.

Sidonis, the editor of Black Cat, also did quite a lot of others great DVDs, as Rio Conchos or some Corman's movies (especially a great edition of The tomb of Ligeia).

Perkins Cobb
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 12:49 pm

Re: French R2 Recommendations

#31 Post by Perkins Cobb » Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:10 am

How come I'd never heard of LesDocs prior to a brief mention this week on Dave Kehr's blog? They have English-subbed DVDs of films by Léon Poirier, Henri Calef, Jean-Paul Paulin, and some other directors who aren't very well-known outside France.

If anyone has any of these, how's the image quality?

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Finch
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#32 Post by Finch » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:47 am

Carlotta/TF1 are going to release these Borzages on Blu on 11 Nov:

Seventh Heaven
Street Angel
Lucky Star

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Yojimbo
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#33 Post by Yojimbo » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:23 am

Finch wrote:The French released Ulmer's The Black Cat a few weeks ago, licensed from Universal. The print is the same as the one found in the Uni set and Second Sight's UK DVD but with forced French subtitles. It comes with a 20+ minute documentary on Karloff and Lugosi in French and alas no subs. I still bought it for the beautiful artwork.

http://video.fnac.com/a2856834/Le-Chat- ... n=-1&Ra=-3" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I'll be keeping my VHS, which I think has a better cover, in addition to my Lugosi mini box-set which contains it

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Peacock
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#34 Post by Peacock » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:27 am

According to the product page on Arte-Editions website, the upcoming Blu-Ray (22nd September) of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, will have english subtitles.

I've emailed them to confirm. Amazon and Bluray.com both only mention french subs, but the latter may just be going off the former.

Fingers crossed!

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Yojimbo
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#35 Post by Yojimbo » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:33 am

Peacock wrote:According to the product page on Arte-Editions website, the upcoming Blu-Ray (22nd September) of Les Demoiselles de Rochefort, will have english subtitles.

I've emailed them to confirm. Amazon and Bluray.com both only mention french subs, but the latter may just be going off the former.

Fingers crossed!
After loving the film, I also bought the soundtrack CD, which is a great favourite

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Peacock
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#36 Post by Peacock » Mon Sep 27, 2010 2:37 pm

There are deffo english subs on the Rochefort blu according to an email from Arte, and according to the one review i've read on the disk, which gives it a good score! (Just what I like to hear for one of my All Time Top Ten!)

Click the "Accéder à la critique du Blu-ray Disc" a quarter of the way down the page for the review.

Although reading the user comments, they seem to be a bit disappointed with the audio options and the image definition.... maybe Blu ray.com will review it.

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Finch
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#37 Post by Finch » Wed Oct 27, 2010 6:30 pm

A member on Blu-Ray.com got his copy of MK2's Kieslowski Blu set with the Colours Trilogy and Veronique: he has not had a chance to sample the full set yet but he says MK2 encoded White at 1080i/50Hz and they don't seem to have ported over the extras from the Veronique DVD. The set has English subtitles (French subs are not forced) but chances are Blu and Red are in 1080i as well. If this is confirmed by other users and official reviews, we can only hope that Artificial Eye encode the Colour trilogy correctly for its UK release.

Beaver on Seventh Heaven Blu

Double-dip? Yes please.

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Saturnome
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#38 Post by Saturnome » Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:30 pm

Region Free Blu-Ray \:D/ (but that's just because entering that region changing code is a pain, heh). I hope it's all the same for Lucky Star.

Lucky Star is even better. Great job from Carlotta.

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Finch
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#39 Post by Finch » Mon Nov 08, 2010 1:58 pm

Michael McKenzie likes Wild Side's Tenebrae disc.
The bad news is that this release is locked to Region B only and has forced French subtitles if you select English or Italian audio. I've tried changing the audio and subtitles on the fly, but you can only select them from the menu... which is a bit of a bummer, as I'm sure you'll agree. HTPC users with AnyDVD HD (or similar) will be able to get around this, but those with standard BD players are out of luck.

If you love the film, can play Region B titles and don't mind (or can get around) the subtitles, run out and buy this disc now. I can't stress enough how massive an upgrade over every previous release this constitutes. I don't currently know of any other pending BD releases of this film - it's not part of Blue Underground's upcoming line-up, as the rights to it (and PHENOMENA, TRAUMA and THE CARD PLAYER) are held by Anchor Bay, who haven't announced anything. For the time being, however, what we have is a decent presentation of a film considered by many to be a classic (not myself, though it does come close) accompanied by a fairly light sprinkling of extras, with a couple of technical hurdles (region coding, forced subtitles) to be overcome.

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gyorgys
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#40 Post by gyorgys » Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:25 pm

It will be interesting to compare it with the Arrow BD coming end of March 2011.

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Peacock
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#41 Post by Peacock » Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:58 pm

Beaver on the 'A Man Escaped' Blu ray
I think it looks awful, just check out the banding in the first three grabs, particularly the third. According to Gary the PQ gets better as the film progresses, but judging by the screen caps from later in the movie this has been overly softened or DNR'ed cos there is just zero grain in the black sky. Glad I didn't blind buy this... Hope New Yorker don't have the rights anymore and it's sitting in Criterions lap...

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Finch
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#42 Post by Finch » Mon Nov 08, 2010 5:57 pm

The Blu certainly appears inconsistent since some of Gary's caps seem to indicate that some DNR has been applied and that the image looks soft at times (but still better than both DVDs) but there are also caps where the Blu displays some nice grain. Will let you know what my experience with the film has been like once I've received and watched my Blu copy but I'm definitely glad that I held on to my Artificial Eye DVD if only for the bonus materials.

By the way, I've sampled some scenes from all three Borzage Blu's from Gaumont (all three arrived in the post today) and I'm very pleased with how they look. Anyone who treasures silents needs to run, not walk to their stores to get the Gaumonts. Between those three and their gorgeous French Cancan resto, Gaumont has produced four of the ten best Blus this year.

DanV
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#43 Post by DanV » Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:41 pm

I think it looks awful
You can say it loud, and it shows bloody gigantic artifacts, too.
Glad I didn't blind buy this
I couldn't agree more. See you, Gaumont.

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Peacock
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#44 Post by Peacock » Mon Nov 08, 2010 9:03 pm

Finch wrote:The Blu certainly appears inconsistent since some of Gary's caps seem to indicate that some DNR has been applied and that the image looks soft at times (but still better than both DVDs) but there are also caps where the Blu displays some nice grain. Will let you know what my experience with the film has been like once I've received
Please do. But I wonder looking closely at those caps, how y'know it looks so random how one cap will have a totally artificially softened wall (NOT done in camera), then another has a grainy image... The 'grainy' images don't even really look right, like if you look beneath the grain, the actors are still soft.

I think Gaumont has simply added DNR to the entire film to get rid of all the damage which is evident in the Artificial Eye and New Yorker disks, then randomly added digital grain to certain shots - there just doesn't seem to be any more detail there. In many of those caps there is actually less fine object detail than in the AE dvd! Really the most disappointing Blu ray transfer for an important film i've seen.

And i'll definitely be picking up the Borzage's! I'll just know not to get my hopes too high for anything else until I see reviews...

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Finch
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#45 Post by Finch » Wed Nov 10, 2010 7:31 pm

We just finished our viewing of the Gaumont Blu, followed by a sampling of a few scenes from the AE DVD. Where the Blu definitely scores over the SD version is the soundtrack which sounded more robust and fuller in high def. The image on the other hand yields mixed results: daylight shots can often look impressive, with more depth and texture compared to the flatter SD images. Grain is definitely present although it varies within scenes and even from shot to shot: at best, it's finely reproduced, at worst, it's almost impercetible. I don't recall the AE having such issues so I'd agree it looks as though Gaumont applied DNR and overzealously so in parts of the film (the opener in the car is one instance). Where the Blu really disappointed me though was in the lack of solid blacks and grey in the nighttime scenes, especially when you consider that the format usually really excels in producing inky blacks and fine shadow detail. The problem is that with the exception of Criterion, no company licensing this title from Gaumont is likely to fix the issues with their resto or create a new master from scratch, so I'd wager this is as good as it's going to get in HD. Let me stress though: in spite of the flaws, the Blu still looks appreciably better than the DVDs in motion. It's easily the least impressive-looking of all of Gaumont's major titles from 2010 but even with this just serviceable HD image, there's no way I could go back to even the Artificial Eye. I'd say: hold on to your AE for the Bresson doc and either wait for the Gaumont to drop in price or hope that Criterion have plans for the film next year or thereafter.

If I had to rate the AE and Gaumont in respect of how each transfer rates considering DVD and Blu capabilities/limitations, I'd say the AE is worth 8 out of 10 and the Gaumont 6.5 out of 10.

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Don Lope de Aguirre
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#46 Post by Don Lope de Aguirre » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:09 am

An invaluable post, Finch. Thanks a lot.

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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#47 Post by Tom Peeping » Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:44 pm

The fascinating Apache Drums (Val Lewton producer / Hugo Fregonese director, 1951) has just been released in France by Sidonis on a beautiful transfer. French title : "Quand les tambours s'arrêteront". First time ever on DVD.

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Documaniaque
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#48 Post by Documaniaque » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:38 pm

Arte Editions has put out 2 increcible William Klein documentaries from 1970: Festival Culturel Panafricain & Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther, available together in a a reasonably-priced box-set. I think they came out a year ago, but haven't seen them mentioned here. Both have awesome street scenes filmed in Algiers in color in 1969 and a judicious use of archival material. Both copes look very clean. Neither has English subs, but the Cleaver one has all English dialogue anyway. Festival Panafricain has a number of scenes in French but I think a non-French speaker could enjoy the film as well, though some of the political polemics might be lost. If you liked Klein docs like Muhammed Ali (or Solanas' Hora de los hornos which Festival has some similarities with) you will like this, it's among his very best work.

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domino harvey
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#49 Post by domino harvey » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:39 pm

What's the best online retailer for French titles now that Amazon.fr seems to be a crapshoot at best?

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swo17
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Re: French R2 Recommendations

#50 Post by swo17 » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:01 pm

Last time I needed some French titles (a couple months ago) Amazon.it had most everything I wanted, and for cheaper too.

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